What’s one thing you hope to hear God say to you in heaven? I’m guessing it’s these words: “Well done, My good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). This verse is quoted so often that it’s invaluable that we understand its meaning.

In this passage, Jesus is like the master who entrusted his money to his servants before he went away. Though he will be gone for a long time, he will eventually return and settle accounts with his servants (Matthew 25:19). Similarly, believers live between the times—that is, between the beginning of the end and the consummation of the end. Despite the seemingly long wait, we need to watch and be ready for our Lord’s return.

So, how can we be ready? The parable presents two positive examples and one negative. The obedient servants took the risk and invested their master’s money to bring the greatest possible return to him when he arrived. The wicked and lazy servant, on the other hand, played it safe and buried the money. His reasoning was deemed as an excuse. The master’s argument is that no matter what the servant’s opinion of him is, whether accurate or distorted, a true servant would act in accord with his master’s expectation.

Pastor Ray Stedman summarized the parable’s key lesson this way: “Opportunities to display abilities and gifts come to all kinds of people, Christian or not. We can play it safe and get what we can for ourselves—or we can risk reputation, possessions, and life itself so that God may have what He wants.”

Let’s get ready for Jesus’ return by learning to take bold risks for His sake. Then, when we meet Him, we can be sure He’ll say to us: “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 49:1-33